Geographically dividing Kukis and Meiteis against the notion of India: Cong LS election candidate Akoijam

A Bimol Akoijam, the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha election, said that dividing Kukis and Meiteis geographically in the violent state of Manipur in the name of “safety” is against the “very idea” of India and need to be denounced from left to right.

According to Akoijam, an assistant professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Social Sciences, the two groups will have to coexist and cooperate as long as they are both citizens of the nation.

The 57-year-old Akoijam’s remarks coincided with calls for a separate government from the Kuki-Zo minority in Manipur.

Comparing the violence in Manipur to a “ethnic conflict akin to Rwanda,” Akoijam said that there was a purpose behind the BJP-led government’s purposeful escalation of the crisis in the state and at the federal level.

“The kind of situation we are seeing…we don’t believe that this can happen in a settled democracy like India…it almost sounds like an ethnic conflict like those happen in Rwanda for instance, this has been allowed to happen for so long…so returning back to normal life will take long, long time,” he stated to PTI in an interview.

In his first election, Akoijam, a candidate from the Inner Manipur seat, asked why the Indian government permits internal divisions.

“It is total nonsense when a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nation like India claims that Kukis and Meiteis have been geographically, emotionally, and in other ways divided.

Saying that Kukis and Meiteis cannot coexist is against the fundamental principles of Indian culture. “You attempted to defend the area where a certain group was living if Sikhs were attacked. In the name of safety, I am really dubious of why they started moving these folks from that side to this and vice versa,” he said.

“I believe that the Indian government is failing to prevent the worsening of these circumstances, and I have a suspicion that this is being done on purpose.

He went on to say, “It is not the Indian state’s incapacity; rather, it is its unwillingness to act, and I suspect there is some ulterior motive.”

Akoijam called it a “sorry state of affairs” and said that people seemed to support and legitimize the divide.

It’s a terribly unfortunate situation.I believe this is the reason one should not rejoice. Left, right, and center must all denounce these types of concerns. Kukis and Meiteis will share every platform in our nation as long as they are citizens, including the Parliament, state assemblies, government agencies, and private organizations. As fellow citizens, they will also need to coexist and cooperate.

“The fact that they are unable to collaborate does not need to be justified. That is unacceptable and total rubbish,” he said.

Since May 3 of last year, Manipur has seen intermittent, sometimes violent ethnic confrontations between the Kukis and the mostly Meitei tribe that have claimed over 200 lives.

The Kukis have relocated to the hills, whereas the Meiteis are now mostly concentrated in Imphal city. There will be two stages to the voting process for Manipur’s two Lok Sabha seats. The first phase of voting will take place on April 19 for Inner Manipur and certain Outer Manipur segments, while the second phase will take place on April 26 for the other Outer Manipur segments.

“It must be pursued and I shall be doing my bit to ensure that this process is done without harming or hurting other communities,” Akoijam said when asked about the Congress’ position on the demand that Meiteis be granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The state’s minister of law and education, Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh of the BJP, will compete against Akoijam.

“Change the narrative” is Akoijam’s response when asked about the actions he would take to solve the matter.

Changing the story is one of the things to do.For this reason, the phrase “reconciliation” appears in the Congress manifesto. Reconciliation is necessary in a society that is broken and when connections between communities are strained.”My approach would be to highlight this reconciliation process,” he said.

“The first objective is to stop the violence, address accountability, and provide the victims with justice. Since the crisis is a symptom of deeply ingrained problems in the state, it requires a specific approach, which is why I’ll be working on a project that will enable all communities to coexist in dignity. A Manipur united “, he continued.

Alfred K. Arthur, a tribal member of the Assembly from Outer Manipur, has been nominated by the Congress. The Naga People’s Front (NPF) nominee Kachui Timothy Zimik is receiving backing from the BJP, which has not produced a candidate for the Outer Manipur seat.

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